Alex Tagliani Doesn't Go Anywhere Without His EpiPen
Reprint from Pfizer World August 9, 2013
Pfizer Canada recently announced that it is working with Alex Tagliani, who competes in the IZOD IndyCar series, to promote food allergy awareness and safety. The Summer of TAG (Treating Allergies with Genuine Care) supports Tagliani's charity of choice, Anaphylaxis Canada, in its efforts to engage Canadians in a conversation about managing food allergies and what to do in the event of a reaction.
Food allergy is a leading cause of potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions and a growing public health concern, especially among children. Approximately 2.5 million Canadians self-report having at least one food allergy, according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
"We are very pleased to be partnering with Alex to raise awareness and support the educational initiatives of Anaphylaxis Canada," said Simon Carson, Senior Brand Manager, EpiPen. "This partnership provides excellent educational opportunities on how to effectively manage food allergies and be prepared for a potentially life-threatening situation."
Born with life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, Tagliani takes his food allergies very seriously and understands that he needs to be prepared and vigilant at all times. As a strong advocate for anaphylaxis awareness, he takes important steps to stay safe when at home or travelling. Tagliani says having an EpiPen on hand has saved his life – he regularly tells a story about having an allergic reaction at a restaurant after eating some cheesecake he hadn't known had a small coating of almond paste. With his throat closing up and breathing becoming difficult, he had to run to his rental car, where he'd left his EpiPen.
"That's why I always carry my EpiPen with me," Tagliani said. "I am happy to team up with Pfizer Canada and Anaphylaxis Canada to raise awareness."
The Summer of TAG kicked off on May 1 to mark Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada, and Tagliani visited schools in Toronto and Montreal early in the month, talking about how he manages his food allergies and the importance of always being prepared for an anaphylactic emergency.
He also launched a design contest for his racing helmet that he will wear during the Toronto Indy in July and the NASCAR Grand Prix Trois-Rivières in August. The winning artist will be given three tickets to see him race in Toronto, along with a meet-and-greet and travel expenses. Tagliani will also go head-to-head with a fellow race car driver in a Power of Two competition to raise funds for Anaphylaxis Canada.
"Having Alex tell his story and share his experiences, especially with teens, provides a great way to empower them and let them know they can pursue their dreams while staying safe," said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada and the mother of a teenage son with multiple food allergies.
Tagliani, also known by his racing name Tag, competes in the IZOD IndyCar Series for Barracuda Racing. In 2011, he became the first Canadian driver to win pole position at the Indianapolis 500 in its 100-year history.